Summary: Chapter 35

Ifemelu goes with Blaine to visit his sister, Shan. Shan is upset about her publisher’s image choice for her book cover and has been on the phone with the marketing director all morning.

After taking a call from a French admirer, she explains that she likes how European men look at her as a woman and not a black woman. Ifemelu explains that she has had more interest from white men in America than black American men. Shan waves off her objection, claiming that her being foreign must be the reason. The publisher calls to let Shan know that they have changed the cover image.

The chapter ends with a blog post in which Ifemelu explains how Barack Obama must remain the “magic black man” in the eyes of white Americans. Ifemelu defines the “magic black man” as a wise black man who never expresses anger about racism and gently helps white people with their tragic prejudices.

Summary: Chapter 36

Ifemelu attends a birthday party for one of Blaine’s friends. Blaine’s ex, a white woman named Paula, is also at the party. Ifemelu can’t help but notice that Paula seems more comfortable with Blaine’s crowd than she is. Paula brings up a blog post of Ifemelu’s about the importance of white people listening to black people when they talk about their experiences.

The conversation turns to Barack Obama, who has just announced his presidential bid. Ifemelu likes Hillary Clinton because she doesn't know anything about Obama, but she is soon drowned out by the discussion of how Obama makes people feel.

After the party, Ifemelu tries to explain to Blaine that his connection with Paula makes her jealous. She likens it to how the fried chicken he and Paula eat is battered, unlike the Nigerian fried chicken she knows. Blaine only notices the loaded invocation of fried chicken, but tells her there’s no reason to be jealous. Ifemelu knows Blaine won’t cheat, but she is jealous of a desire to be good that connects Blaine and Paula.